I‘m home after a difficult and cold climb of Shishapangma, which I made
with Polish climber Piotr Morawski on January 14. Since December 31,
1988 (when Kryzstof Wielicki climbed Lhotse) until our climb, nobody
made a first winter [ascent of an 8000er]….
Jean-Christophe Lafaille’s climb of Shishapangma’s southwest face was
certainly good and difficult, and I personally wrote on my own web site,
as well as to other sites, my congratulations and appreciation. The
problems began when JC declared some extra, false particulars that I and
other climbers cannot accept.
His climb was not in winter (winter begins December 21).
His climb was not the first solo ascent of the face (Wielicki made the
first in 1993).
His climb was not the first solo alpine-style ascent (Wielicki’s 1993
climb took only twenty-four hours).
His climb was not alpine style (he used fixed ropes and worked for
nearly a month on the face before going to the summit).
His route was not a new one, but a partial variant (we opened the first
forty percent of the route in 2003 during our first attempt).
I’m not interested in fighting with JC or ruining his image and
[undermining his] great climb, but… communication has to be honest,
respecting the rules of alpinism and science. Kukuzcka, Wielicki,
Berbeka, Boukreev, Messner and many others respect the standard
definitions of winter, alpine style, no oxygen, new route and so on.
Here in Europe (except in France) nobody has any doubt about who did the
first winter climb of Shisha, and who did the first solo.
JC did a great solo late-autumn climb on the south face of Shishapangma
via the British Route without oxygen. This is a big accomplishment, the
message which he should focus on and develop…. But he can’t imagine
what winter really is like in the Himalaya. I have made five winter
expeditions, three in the Himalaya, and I was only forty kilometers away
from him when he summited. The conditions did not resemble real winter
On our climb of Shishapangma’s southwest face, Piotr, Jacek Jawien,
Darek Zaluski and I followed the Yugoslavian Route, which is the longest
and probably easiest way to reach the ridge between Pungpa-Ri and
Shisha’s main summit. We also had no oxygen, Sherpas or other
expeditions in our base camp, and we were completely alone on the
mountain. We used around 2000 meters of fixed rope that [we] carried and
fixed over two weeks. We established only two camps between our advanced
base camp and the summit…. It is not true [our climb] was only a walk
to reach the summit….
There are too many “snakes” in the climbing community, and I prefer to
follow other ways. I hope that winter will remain winter as the south
remains south and the north remains north.
–Simone Moro, Bergamo, Italy
Editor’s Note: Jean-Christophe Lafaille declined to respond to Mr.
Moro’s points, preferring to let his climb speak for itself. Readers may
find his note on Page 95.